Land of the Lustrous Episode 1: Cinnabar was sick of being alone in the night
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Land of the Lustrous Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Land of the Lustrous Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Land of the Lustrous episode 1, “Phosphophyllite,” after what might have been years or decades of fruitless deliberation, Kongou finally thought of a job suitable for Phosphophyllite (Phos). Phos’ relatively low hardness of 3.5 meant even bumping into their friends might shatter them. Unfortunately for Phos, Kongou’s assignment of writing their encyclopedia seemed like a consolation prize. Phos spent a lot of time trying to get the others to take the job; the others spent as much time pushing back. Finally, Phos went out to visit Cinnabar, the only person who might have rare information Phos could use. Unfortunately, before she found Cinnabar, the Lunarians attacked with the intent to turn Phos into pretty green jewelry. With a hardness of only 3.5, what can Phos do — especially so far from home?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Land of the Lustrous Episode 1

Land of the Lustrous Episode 1: Kongou had a hard time finding a job for Phos

Kongou was more or less at his wits’ end trying to find a job that would not shatter Phos. Capture from the Amazon Prime stream.

As Kongou and Phos strode towards the confrontation between the Lunarians and Morga and Gothe, Kongou tried to explain how many of the gems would pair up to fight, while others would act as scouts. Neither of those roles would be suitable for Phos. Nor would anything else he could think of.

“With your physical condition and incomparable clumsiness, I could find nothing to rely on you for,” he said in lament (04:54).

At least we know that Kongou is honest with them!

Best in Show Moment for Land of the Lustrous Episode 1

Land of the Lustrous Episode 1: Phos tried to help Cinnabar -- at great personal risk

Phos knew full well the price they’d have to pay — but they tried to help Cinnabar anyway. Capture from the Amazon Prime stream.

Setup: Phos and Cinnabar on Different Courses

I’d forgotten just how beautiful this show is. Every frame looks like a work of painstaking, loving art. Together with a tight narrative, this show is just a joy to watch. Kinda sounds like I enjoyed the show back when I first watched it, huh?

The first episode setup my favorite moment with subtlety and grace. After Kongou gave Phos the assignment to write the encyclopedia, Phos at first tried everything to get out of it. Failing that, they wanted to discover something major to write about. Morga used the title it in jest, but Phos really liked the sound of “Master Scholar” and wanted to earn it.

Trouble was, none of the others had any such information. Morga suggested Phos visit Cinnabar, but we immediately learned Cinnabar was someone to be feared — someone whose very breath was dangerous. Rutile, their doctor, also suggested Phos visit Cinnabar. In that conversation, we learned that unlike the rest of them who thrived in the sunlight, Cinnabar could live in the darkness. Moreover, Rutile let slip that most of them had forced Cinnabar out of their society because they were such a danger. In fact, if Cinnabar’s mercury even touched another one of them, the infected parts would need to be chipped away, along with the memories contained in those fragments.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 1: Even Rutile suggested Phos search out Cinnabar

Phos was angry with Rutile for being the second person to suggest they go visit Cinnabar. Capture from the Amazon Prime stream.

Phos, desperate to be praised as the Master Scholar, swallowed their fear and went out in search of Cinnabar.

There was a lot of anticipation in the air as Phos searched the shoreline for Cinnabar. What would an individual as dangerous as Cinnabar be like? We had a brief glimpse of them in the opening scene. They certainly didn’t look dangerous! Yet, everyone was afraid of them.

Delivery: Two Instinctive Decisions

Phos looked all day but didn’t see Cinnabar. Near sunset, having reached a cliff overlooking the sea, Phos decided to turn back for home. That’s when they saw the telltale black, expanding fractal pattern in the sky. The Lunarians had arrived, and they wanted to turn Phos into sparkling green jewelry.

As they attacked, though, Cinnabar burst out of nowhere. Cinnabar used the mercury that was so poisonous to the others of their kind as a shield and spear, and they used them to beat back the initial attack. Cinnabar faltered, then rallied, riding a mercury wave into the air to meet and destroy the enemy under a poisonous tidal wave. But Cinnabar misjudged the landing and tottered over the edge of the cliff.

Keep in mind that we already know that even touching Cinnabar’s mercury is dangerous. As Cinnabar fell, Phos threw themself onto the edge, splashing in the mercury that covered everything. Bits of Phos’ skin began to die, but they held on to thrust their notebook at Cinnabar. Cinnabar grasped it, halting their fall for the briefest of moments. Right up until Phos’ arms snapped off.

Land of the Lustrous Episode 1: Phos wasn't strong enough to hold Cinnabar aloft

Well, it’s the thought that counts, I guess! Capture from the Amazon Prime stream.

Cinnabar decided to save Phos. Phos decided to save Cinnabar. Those were two intertwined acts of concern and compassion. Despite how both of them felt, despite what each thought of the other, in the moment of need, both of them acted. The fact that the moment was capped by the sound of Phos’ snapping arms just made the moment uniquely Lustrous.

What did you think of the Lunarians? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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